KATHMANDU, June 19: Menstrual Health/Hygiene Partners’ Alliance (MHMPA) has urged the government to review the decision to decrease the import tax to 1.5% on finished sanitary pads.
The government in its annual budget for the fiscal year 2022/23, it has announced to decrease the import tax to 1.5% on finished sanitary pads, whereas the domestic produced pads are still poised to 8.2% import tax in aggregate for raw materials and packing materials.
This differential tax provision will surely discourage the domestic manufacturing industries. Also, the quality and standards have not been mentioned for the finished pad products in the reduced tax provisions. On one hand, the low-quality sanitary pads which are likely to be imported will impact the health of women and on the other hand, the commercial pads with plastic coats would severely create environmental hazards for centuries, reads the press statement of MHMPA.
Meanwhile, the organization also expresses gratitude toward the government’s decision to introduce free pads distribution to the girls of public schools and for the ongoing revision of school curriculum to include comprehensive contents of menstruation in school textbooks.
Sanitary pad is a basic necessity for a woman to manage her menstruation. Its availability at affordable cost and quality is one of the most important aspects of dignified menstruation.
With the above backdrop, the organization urges the government to take the following actions with immediate effect for the larger health benefit of women and for the protection of the environment.
-Encourage domestic production of pads by reducing the import tax on the raw materials and packaging materials as equal to the finished products
-Encourage to produce internally and/or import from overseas only the biodegradable pads and reusable pads meeting national standards set by the Central Bureau of Standards (CBS) by imposing zero import tax for both finished products as well as raw materials and packaging materials
– Bring a national programme for free biodegradables pads or reusable pads to all the women and girls in the communities and schools